Uh-Oh, Another ‘New’ Casino In Great Falls?

“Oh no! Another new casino in Great Falls!”.

Sorry, but that complaint is kind of misleading, because gaming licenses are tied to liquor/alcohol licenses which are controlled by the state and apportioned to communities according to population.

Think Whack-a-Mole. One has to close before another pops up. We haven’t had any “new” additional casinos here for a long time.

I’ve said this before, but because of the misperception about how our local economy works I’ll say it again: The City Commission has no legal authority to prevent any business, including a casino, from opening as long as that business meets all of the safety, permitting, zoning and state licensing requirements.

It is a common misunderstanding that the City of Great Falls local government picks and chooses which kinds of businesses we allow to open and operate here. We do not.

How many times have you heard, “Why don’t they bring in (fill in the blank)?”

There is no “they”. This is a free market economy and the kinds of businesses that open and succeed or fail in Great Falls is determined by market forces, not the City Commission or City Manager etc.

Local government can help shape the regulatory, development, and tax environment to a certain degree, but beyond that it’s up to what the marketplace will support.

If you don’t like the kinds of businesses or developments “they” are “bringing in” to Great Falls and think “they” should “bring in” the kind of businesses or developments you would like to see here, then here’s a suggestion:

Put a business plan together, invest your own money, apply for a big ol’ loan, or get a group of investors together and open that business or build that housing subdivision.

Put some of your own skin in the game – then maybe you’ll understand what a huge risk it is and how hard it is to actually start and run a profitable enterprise.

Great Falls School Board Candidate Profile: Tony Rosales

Editors note: Earlier this month E-City Beat sent an email to the three GFPS School Board candidates requesting a candidate profile and their reasons for seeking the position of School Board Trustee. We will publish the replies without edits or editorial comment as we receive them.

Tony Rosales

Personal Bio:

Born and raised in Great Falls, I graduated from Great Falls High and attended Carroll College, where I gained a never-ending passion for local and community education. After earning a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Notre Dame, I embarked on a career in healthcare consulting. My experiences as a researcher, educator, and strategic planner motivate me to enhance GFPS with innovative solutions and ensure our educational system supports every student’s success.

Strategic Leadership:

Challenge: GFPS faces challenges in long-term financial planning and educational strategy.

Solution: I propose initiating board-led community focus groups involving students, families, and staff to gather diverse perspectives and direct insights. These groups will help shape our strategic actions by highlighting actual needs and priorities within the district to help recruit and retain personnel. Furthermore, I will actively participate in the 2025 legislative session to advocate for modifications to the state funding formula and ensure promised Montana Lottey funds help ease the burden of local property taxes for education. I am also committed to exploring innovative budget solutions, including the establishment of an endowment fund.

Accountability & Transparency:

Challenge: There is a need to improve the transparency of operations and accountability in student and school performance metrics.

Solution: I will ensure that our school board meetings are transformed into platforms for meaningful discussion on pressing issues. Regular, detailed reports on academic achievements, special education metrics, and behavioral statistics will be standard practice, allowing us to address areas needing improvement swiftly. Additionally, by enhancing the visibility of Individualized Education Plans (IEP) compliance and other key performance indicators, we can build a more accountable and transparent system that fosters trust and confidence among the community.

Real-world Preparedness:

Challenge: Preparing students for the complexities of the modern economy and digital world is essential.

Solution: Our curriculum must include advanced digital literacy and comprehensive financial education to ensure students are well-prepared for technological advancements and economic self-sufficiency. This includes practical applications of AI in various fields, teaching students about cryptocurrency, investing, and personal financial management. We should aim for every graduate to have the tools needed to begin a journey toward financial independence after graduating from GFPS.


With a robust background in research, education, and strategic planning, I am uniquely equipped to contribute effectively to the GFPS School Board. My comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities in education today drives my commitment to ensure that GFPS not only meets but exceeds the expectations of our community. Through strategic leadership, enhanced accountability, and a focus on real-world preparedness, I will work tirelessly to prepare our students for the demands of the future.

Press Release: “Rosales Pushes for Proactive Leadership Within GFPS Board”

Editors note: The following press release was received by E-City Beat Monday morning. We are publishing it without edits or editorial comment. The press release doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinion of E-City Beat or any of our contributors and it is not a campaign endorsement for Tony Rosales.

Emphasizing Constructive Change While Acknowledging Good Faith Efforts of All Parties

GREAT FALLS, MT, April 8, 2024 – In recent weeks, Tony Rosales has engaged in critical discussions regarding an identified conflict of interest (link), speaking with both school administrators and members of the involved non-profit. A summary of findings are as follows:

·    Lance Boyd, the Executive Director for Student Achievement and Director of Student Services at GFPS, previously held positions on the board and as chair of the organization Peace Place

·    In February 2024, Boyd resigned from his role at Peace Place, indicating a key reason for his departure included scheduling conflicts between school board and non-profit board meetings

·    Peace Place receives funding from various sources including government grants, with the majority coming from grant application programs and a smaller portion from funding that follows students

·    Boyd’s role in any fund transfers or referrals of children and families to community resources have additional oversight mechanisms beyond the Director of Student Services’ purview

·    Peace Place’s aims to provide “respite with a purpose,” which is a unique community offering defined as support and supervision to provide temporary relief to a primary caregiver

·    Peace Place also provides educational services, albeit this is not their main mission

·   Both Superintendent Tom Moore and Executive Director Lance Boyd emphasized that administrators are highly encouraged to be involved in the community and to serve on non-profit boards that align with their passions

Acknowledging the Executive Director’s resignation, it is still evident there was a past conflict of interest with GFPS’ commitment to students. Holding dual roles that have substantially overlapping responsibilities posed substantial risk to GFPS. Any risk, known or unknown, associated with Peace Place was inextricably linked to GFPS, and had the potential to impose significant legal costs despite our current budget deficits. While we can advocate for community involvement of our administrators, it must come with School Board oversight rather than individual discretion.

The significant community response, including over 1,000 social media engagements and numerous private messages expressing concern, underscores the need for greater oversight and evaluation, especially for special education programs and external community resources.

This situation illustrates the critical need for more assertive leadership from the school board. To rebuild trust within the community, we urge the school board to take immediate and transparent action by:

·    Publicly addressing this conflict of interest, including the board’s prior knowledge and stance on such external appointments

·    Providing a comprehensive list of cabinet members’ involvement in other organizations, possible conflicts of interest within that list and GFPS, and clarifying if the board approves

·   Developing and implementing robust conflict of interest policies to better mitigate risk, including an approval procedure ensuring awareness of administrative engagements within the community

Contact Us


State Of The Races: GFPS School Board

Today E-City Beat sent an email to the three GFPS School Board candidates requesting a candidate profile and their reasons for seeking the position of School Board Trustee. We will publish their responses without edits or editorial comment towards the end of April.

The three candidates vying for one open seat are Rodney Meyers, Marlee Sunchild, and Tony Rosales. The election will be Tuesday, May 7, 2024.

Stay tuned for E-City Beat’s continuing coverage of all local elections, issues, and candidates.

Do You Want Great Falls To Grow?

It’s time to update our Growth Policy, Great Falls.

It may come as a surprise to some folks but there are a significant number of Great Fallsians who don’t want our city to grow at all, they’re happy with things exactly as they are here in the Electric City.

I get it. Take a look at Bozeman and you see why people here in Great Falls are skeptical about the concept of ‘growth’. Using the ‘Goldilocks And The Three Bears’ story as an analogy, well, that Bozeman porridge is too hot.

But here’s the deal – Great Falls is going to grow whether we like it or not. The question is this: What kind of growth do we want and how do we manage that growth?

That’s where the Growth Policy comes in, and the process has already started.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent City of Great Falls press release:

“Join us in creating a roadmap for tomorrow, one that reflects our shared values and aspirations. The City of Great Falls is calling on members of the community to serve on its Growth Policy Steering Committee.
Apply today: https://greatfallsmt.net/planning/growth-policy-update.
Applications are open until 5PM on April 12, 2024.”

Whether you like your porridge hot or cold (I prefer it ‘just right’) now’s your chance to get involved in shaping the future for our community. Even if you aren’t selected to be on the Growth Policy Steering Committee there will be many opportunities for your input and voice to be heard, but only if you make the effort to participate in the public process over the coming months.

So stay tuned and stay engaged.

Local Candidates Disqualified, Stabbing In Great Falls, Pedestrian Killed On 10th Ave. S.

Our regular feature highlighting a few of the latest and most interesting local and national news items from various sources.

Three Great Falls Libertarian state House candidates, Rosales, Leatherbarrow, Sui, disqualified from ballot, from MTPR:

Woman dies from injuries after being hit by car in Great Falls, from ABC/FOX NonStop Local:

Cops nab juvenile suspect, from KRTV:

Cascade County Libertarian Party Fields 4 Candidates For State House

Editors note: the following is a press release sent to E-City Beat from the Cascade County Libertarian Party. Stay tuned to E-City Beat as we begin our coverage of local candidates on the 2024 primary and general election ballots.

Four Libertarians File for Office to Represent >50% of Cascade County in State Legislature

GREAT FALLS, MT, March 12, 2024 – Four Libertarian candidates have filed for office to represent half of the House Districts in Cascade County: Annie Leatherbarrow (HD 24), Kevin Leatherbarrow (HD 23), Lui Salina (HD 25), and Josh Rosales (HD 21).

Although there are many who identify as a libertarian or with libertarian principles, until recently, it was seldom to see a Libertarian candidate on the ballot except for President and perhaps a state-wide race. However, based on yesterday’s March 11th filings, ~40,000 people in Cascade County could be represented by a Libertarian state legislator in the 2024 legislative session.

About the CCLP

The Libertarian Party is the people’s representative in American politics. It is the only political organization which respects people as unique and competent individuals.

The Cascade County and Montana Libertarian Parties are the real choice for less government, lower taxes, and a freer future. The CCLP believes in both economic and personal freedom. We believe people should be free to make their own choices, provided they don’t infringe on the equal right of others to do the same. Government’s role should be to protect an individual’s right to make their own choices in life, so they can reap the rewards of their successes and bear personal responsibility for their decisions.

Contact Us

For questions, please contact the CCLP Chair:
Anthony Rosales, PhD

Daily Montanan Reports Rina Moore’s Staff Accused In Lawsuit Of Election ‘Maleficence’

Here’s a excerpt from the article written by Daily Montanan reporter Nicole Girten and posted last week.

“Plaintiffs in a case against the Cascade County Elections Office over its handling of a May 2023 election alleged the office knowingly went against state statute – and fault included ousted Clerk and Recorder Rina Moore’s former staff.

According to a court filing submitted Wednesday, Lynn DeRoche, who worked alongside Moore for 16 years and for current Clerk and Recorder Sandra Merchant for about a month last year, gave Merchant faulty advice around procedures for sending out ballots in an irrigation district election.”

You can read the entire article on the Daily Montanan website, here.

Longtime Cascade County election staff accused of maleficence in Irrigation District election • Daily Montanan

Feelings Over Facts — Great Falls Far Left Rhetoric From Jasmine Taylor & Jake Sorich

Editors note, the following is an opinion piece by Jeni Dodd.

Jasmine Taylor of the blog WTF 406 apparently has issues with the facts. Taylor opined that E-City Beat✓’s recent article, Library Director And Library Board Chair Spouses/Partners Donated $130,000 To Levy Campaign Committee, was an attack on philanthropy and that it showed ire against the donors to ‘Yes for Libraries’.

The E-City Beat✓ article correctly identified the two folks who together donated the bulk of ‘Yes for Libraries’ PAC funding and their relationships to the library director and library board chair. Hard to argue with the truth, so Taylor tries to reframe it with hyperbolic attacks on E-City Beat✓.

Philanthropy? Why didn’t those donors give $130,000 directly to the library instead? That would have more than covered the $120,000 projected budget shortfall for FY2024. The library had no problem accepting $300,000 last fall from an anonymous donor through the Great Falls Library Foundation to cover a budget shortfall when the library director failed to account for increases in electrical and personnel costs. Increases she claims took her by surprise but there is evidence that she would have known about those costs. But instead of taking that under consideration and planning for those increased costs, she continued spending money with her hiring spree for new library personnel.

Seems to me that if pointed out to them, many folks in Great Falls would note the distinction between pure philanthropy and money spent to support a political agenda. It happens far too often that the side with the most money wields the political influence and that’s what happened in this library levy election. The two donors mentioned funded a ballot issue POLITICAL Action Committee to a push the pro-levy narrative and win an election. So don’t be fooled by Taylor’s attacking E-City Beat✓ as being anti-philanthropic— it’s simply obfuscation.

‘Yes for Libraries’ TV ads used the cuteness factor of children. One ad featured a cute child exclaiming, “learn me to read”— definitely an appeal to emotion. False reporting by local legacy media that the library would close its doors if the levy wasn’t passed undoubtedly duped some voters. I noticed that the library director, the library board and ‘Yes for Libraries’ didn’t step up to correct that misnomer. Of course not, it was a huge gift in their favor.

In fact, what many Great Falls voters failed to grasp, due to the spin by ‘Yes for Libraries’ and local media, is that levy was meant to fund a huge EXPANSION of the library’s mission and services.

The director and board were determined to tread into social services waters when the Montana Code Annotated defines a public library’s purpose as the following — “to give the people of Montana the fullest opportunity to enrich and inform themselves through reading.” Seems a venture into providing social services would therefore be unlawful under the MCA. I would also opine, given the library’s usage and patron numbers, an expansion appeared unwarranted.

So no, dear readers, I’m not going to stop beating the drum on the fact that voters were misled by pro-levy proponents, including the media, about the library levy. It is something we should NEVER forget.

For some time now, I’ve also noticed that Taylor repeatedly attacks the ‘Liberty and Values MT’ organization for their billboards against the library levy, which included both the word “no” and the red strike-through symbol — messaging that no doubt could be perceived as a double negative. But keeping her proper English theme, it seems a bit hypocritical of Taylor to criticize that when she’s used “canvas” and “canvass” interchangeably throughout several of her blog entries about elections. I’ve included a screen shot of one of her headlines as an example. Perhaps she’ll just blame the autocorrect.

Taylor appears to do little to no research or fact checking. Her latest error — incorrectly identifying a new hire at the elections office as Beth Cummings and tying this person, who isn’t Cummings, to one of her Election Protection Committee conspiratorial narratives. In particular, the conspiracy where she equates library levy opposition to being anti-library. It seems Taylor doesn’t have the discernment to understand that those two concepts aren’t the same and can actually co-exist. But not being able to grasp something like that is true of much of the leftist rhetoric these days.

Then there’s Jake Sorich, who is one of the newer hires for the Great Falls Public Library. He’s their communications person and he also has a Substack account where he posts his musings.

His recent effort, ‘Powerful people will start to listen if you raise your voice enough’, is an uninformed piece about local politics. In it, he writes, “Locally, we have seen elected officials repeatedly try to overturn the will of the people for what THEY want. And yes, I’m talking about the local levies. Certain officials have expressed their desire to take the money granted for one organization in a levy the people voted to approve, and dump it into other public entities that had their levy fail. (Even if they disagree, that’s essentially what would have happened no matter what anyone wants you to believe otherwise.)”

Pretty obtuse to not name names. Wonder who and what he’s referring to in his piece.

Could it be Sorich is referring to Great Falls City Commissioner Tryon as the elected official, and his efforts to reexamine the 1993 agreement between the city and the library board which granted the library 7 mills? If so, he needs to do some research before spouting off.

Get a clue — “the people” never voted for that 7 mills; it was never on a ballot. It was voted on by the city commission and the library board. That’s why it is called “7 mills by agreement” in nearly every city and library reference. So much for Sorich’s “overturn of the will of the people.”

Yet regarding the actual overturn of the will of the people that occurred when two county commissioners took election duties away from the Clerk/Recorder AND ELECTIONS ADMINISTRATOR less than a year after the will of the people elected someone to that combined position — crickets from Sorich.

Great Falls Sex Trafficking, Deputy Shot, Gianforte Swamps Dem In Early Poll, And More

Our regular feature highlighting a few of the latest and most interesting local and national news items from various sources.

CCSO Deputy wounded, man killed in shoot out west of Great Falls, from KRTV:

Gianforte 52%, Busse 30%, from KULR8:
Recent Montana poll shows Gianforte leads Busse in race for Governor | Hometown Election HQ | kulr8.com

Great Falls men charged with rape and drugs, from ABC/FOX NonStop Local:

Terry Thompson gets Cascade County election supervisor job, from MTPR: